Countdown Checklist for Knee Replacement Surgery


Today is the final day of August and exactly two weeks before I enter the hospital for my second knee replacement surgery.

Before proceeding with today’s post, I’d like to thank UPMC McKeesport’s Department of Orthopaedic Surgery for providing the following checklist.

Preparing for any type of surgery can be a stressful time and preparation is especially important. We need to think of duties leading up to day of surgery and arrangements that need made during post-op recovery (transportation to/from doctor’s appointments, physical therapy, making temporary adjustments around the home, pet/child care, etc.).

Lists can be important factors in preparing for any upcoming surgery. With so much on our minds leading up to the big day, we may forget something essential or slack off on a few tasks with the assumption they aren’t as important. The following list was a great help to me when I had my first TKR in January. I’m not only again using it as a reference to stay on track for my upcoming LTKR, but also want to share it with blog visitors.


Countdown Checklist for Surgery

2-3 Weeks Before Surgery:

Complete physical exam with primary care physician.
Review complete medication/vitamin/herbal supplement/over the counter medications (this includes refilling any current prescriptions).
Obtain stop dates on certain medications (e.g. stopping aspirin 2-3 weeks before surgery).
Complete dental visit if needed.
Complete urology visit if needed.
Arrange for child or pet care during dates you are in the hospital or rehabilitation center. Have extra house keys made for caretakers if not already done.

2 Weeks Before Surgery:

Complete pre-admission testing.
Begin pre-op (“prehabilitation”) exercises.
Arrange for any equipment needed (shower stool, bedside toilet, etc.)

7 Days Before Surgery:

Prepare your home: cooking/freezing meals, complete cleaning/laundry/yard work, etc.
Cease taking any blood thinning medications as directed by your physician (e.g. Coumadin).

Day Before Surgery:

Update list of medications, medical conditions, and emergency contacts.
Receive call from hospital regarding time of surgery and when to arrive.
Arrange transportation to/from hospital (and rehab center if not receiving physical therapy in the hospital). Let staff know about any transportation problems so an alternate source can be arranged.
Bathe as instructed with antibacterial soap or Hibiclens.
Do not eat or drink anything after midnight.
Pack items for hospital/rehabilitation: sturdy athletic shoes, clothing for physical therapy (shorts, sweat pants, loose shirts, absorbant cotton socks), appropriate underclothing, any requested medical equipment (e.g. CPAP machine), and cases for eyeglasses, hearing aids (also pack extra batteries), dentures.

Day of Surgery:

Bathe as instructed with antibacterial soap or Hibiclens.
Wear clean, loose clothing.
Brush teeth – do not swallow water or dental care products.
No eating or drinking.
Leave all valuables at home.
Do not use hair styling products, lotions, powders, deodorants; no makeup, jewelry, nail polish (latter includes toenails), or contact lenses.
Remove eyeglasses, hearing aids, and dentures before surgery.

Most important – participate in your recovery process. Your new knee will benefit in the long run with the right exercises and lots of movement.

Good luck to all having surgery in upcoming weeks!


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